EUROPE/ITALY - Reduce the social and educational impact of the pandemic, especially on girls in less developed countries

Monday, 12 December 2022


Rome (Agenzia Fides) - Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world in March 2020, it is estimated that more than 111 million students have dropped out of school in developing countries. Lockdowns and restrictions are estimated to have forced millions of girls in less developed countries to drop out of school and many of them have never returned, leaving them at risk of early marriage and other forms of violence and exploitation. During this unprecedented critical situation, four international women's religious congregations have continued their mission to protect the weakest, safeguard them and guarantee the rights of women, youth and children in particular. At a recent meeting held in Rome, at the headquarters of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the religious, who have always been at the forefront of promoting human rights in the countries of the South of the world, presented the report 'How are the Girls? A study on the Rights of Girls in six countries during the Covid-19 Pandemic', the result of a continued commitment to reduce the social and educational impact of the pandemic, especially on girls between the ages of 10 and 20.
The Sisters of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, together with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the Comboni Missionaries and the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, collected data in six countries to accurately study the effects of the impact of Covid-19 on living conditions and respect for the rights of girls in some of the most vulnerable communities in Kenya, South Sudan, India, Nepal, Ecuador and Peru.
“This work is an important first step towards creating a permanent and systematic observatory to monitor the situation of the most vulnerable and often marginalized segments of the population, such as girls, and to draw the attention of society to important humanitarian issues”, reads a note sent to Fides.
"There can be no effective planning and action without a data collection base carried out in a systematic and rigorous way", was the enthusiastic comment of the Secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, FMA, who was present at the meeting through an online connection. The Secretary expressed satisfaction with the research and above all with the network that has been created, made up of "passionate people who worked together". (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 12/12/2022)